Blockchain, Beyond Bitcoin – Vinay Gupta – The Epoch

Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin - with Vinay Gupta | Virtual Futures Salon

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Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin - with Vinay Gupta | Virtual Futures Salon

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Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin - with Vinay Gupta | Virtual Futures Salon

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Vinay Gupta talking Bitcoin @ European Parliament blockchain presentation

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Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin - with Vinay Gupta

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Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin - with Vinay Gupta | Virtual Futures Salon

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Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin - with Vinay Gupta

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Vinay Gupta talking Bitcoin - European Parliament blockchain presentation May 2017

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Vinay Gupta talking Bitcoin @ European Parliament blockchain presentation

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Vinay Gupta's blockchain presentation for the EU parliament (Bitcoin, Ethereum)

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Vinay Gupta talking Bitcoin @ European Parliament blockchain presentation

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Vinay Gupta talks Ethereum, blockchain, and the Future! on Bitcoin Uncensored

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Vinay Gupta- Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

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Vinay Gupta- Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

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Vinay Gupta talks Ethereum, blockchain, and the Future! on Bitcoin Uncensored /r/BitcoinTV

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Vinay Gupta- Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin /r/Bitcoin

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Vinay Gupta- Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

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The Sunday Chart - ETH price v New Daily Wallets

Here is today's chart - https://imgur.com/LRtUuMr
From an all time high on January 14th, the price of Ether tumbled and lost a third of its value in six weeks. Then it got cut in half in March. We’re now barely above the high set last June, and the new wallet numbers are firmly in last summer’s territory. It’s a bloodbath. Worse, it seems there is no clear rationale for it. How can we make sense of the crypto markets right now? What sense is there to make? Surely Ether is seriously oversold and heavily discounted right now? We should buy the dip, right? Right?
Keynes’s old adage that “the markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” has been much on my mind this week, as has Dan Kahneman, who unearthed the cognitive biases and put behavioural economics on the map. Kahneman showed that “rationality” is not always what orthodox economics supposes, and worse (for orthodox economics), “irrational” behaviour sometimes makes perfect sense when considered from a different point of view. Fear is a strange motivator.
Perhaps this is the bottom. It certainly ought to be. But this is crypto. Normal rules of rationality don’t always apply (let’s keep that in mind when the next boom arrives). We should be prepared for the possibility that this market “irrationality” will last a while longer yet. The new wallet numbers have flattened out, but they support a price in the region of $400—about where we are. The slight lift in transactions we saw last week have fallen back a bit. Hard to tell if this is the turning point in a long-ish transaction cycle or another false dawn. Most troubling of all are the reports/rumors of ASIC mining rigs being developed for the Ethereum chain. If these units really are being built, and deployed, they would render most GPU miners uneconomic at a stroke, with unknown consequences for the blockchain and the Ether price. On the other hand, given that the switch to Proof of Stake is slated to get underway later this year, and the cost of developing an ASIC is decidedly non-trivial, why would anyone spend a fortune developing kit with such a short shelf life? Whatever the actuality may be, the mere rumor is probably affecting the ETH price to some degree.
So what needs to happen for the pain to stop? Ideas below please. To my mind, it’s all about infrastructure. The single most important thing is the shift to Proof of Stake, and the introduction of sharding. Improved user interfaces are also much needed—surveys show that a lot of people are put off by the perceived complexity and difficulty of crypto (Vinay Gupta is excellent on this point -- https://www.reddit.com/ethereum/comments/7x5koc/blockchain_beyond_bitcoin_with_vinay_gupta/). The application layer will become central, but not yet. If someone develops a “killer Dapp” today, there isn’t the bandwidth for it to go global right now. And as Nick Cannon says, with the best will in the world, a popular Dapp is a year away at least -- https://ethereumprice.org/when-is-the-next-cryptocurrency-bull-run/ Capacity, with security, is the crucial thing this year.
Good luck and go well.
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Let's aggregate some news sources for newcomers shall we?

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

Can we make a list of helpful newsfeeds for our newcomers? I'll take suggestions and add them to this post and save them in a Google Doc for future reference.

NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for alerts from Joe Urgo - joeyurgz and follow his Medium account for the Dapp Daily newsletter https://dappdaily.com/ and follow his twitter @jfurgo as well. Get notified by Twitter.
Also This Week in Ethereum is a weekly newsletter by evanvanness along with his twitter @evan_van_ness http://www.weekinethereum.com/ Sign up for his newsletter and get notified by email.
https://theetherian.wordpress.com/ A really nice blog!

NEWS SITES

https://www.ethnews.com/ has Android and iOS covered for you with plenty of journalists to follow. They have an RSS feed you can read if you have an RSS feedreader for your phone/desktop. https://www.ethnews.com/rss.xml

VIDEO FEEDS

Consensys: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBeLEwM-yhIKuIxHTx0VzdQ
Ethereum Development Team: https://www.youtube.com/useethereumproject
Mr_Yukon_C has a great YouTube channel. When he posts a video it's ALWAYS worth a watch. Just a splendid fellow with plenty of useful information. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClfAgeZvfwC9hcJrFisW8cQ
darkestchaos has pretty much a video everyday and talks about a wide variety of topics in Crypto. I enjoy his feed as well. Really nice guy and knowledgeable across many platforms. Plus he can play a mean piano. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdUSSt-IEUg2eq46rD7lu_g
I can't remember this guys reddit name but his video channel is really clean. I like his take. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI9POyyP-f93JHfkhr2ma2g and on Twitter https://twitter.com/EthereumRussian

HELP and HOW TO's

How to safely store eth tokens in MEW: https://youtu.be/Txq8nSM8DWc
Ledger Wallet Support http://support.ledgerwallet.com/help_center

Calendars and Countdowns

http://timesofethereum.com/ - Global Calendar for Google Calendar!
http://www.icocountdown.com/ - Coutdown of some of the hottest ICO's. (buy at your own discretion)

State of the Dapps

http://dapps.ethercasts.com/ - Look at all of em! See what stages they are all in with an easy to follow color coded system.

What is Ethereum?

A beginner’s guide to Ethereum by Linda Xie
Introduction to Ethereum: The Internet’s Government by Karl Floersch
Just Enough Bitcoin for Ethereum by Mike Goldin
Ethereum: Bitcoin Plus Everything by Mike Goldin
Programmable Blockchains in Context: Ethereum’s Future by Vinay Gupta
App Coins and the Dawn of the Decentralized Business Model by Fred Ehrsam

Start Developing Dapps

Tools and Technologies in the Ethereum Ecosystem by Mahesh Murthy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Smart Contracts in Ethereum by Manuel Aráoz
A 101 Noob Intro to Programming Smart Contracts on Ethereum by ConsenSys
Smart Contract Best Practices by ConsenSys
Library Driven Development in Solidity by Jorge Izquierdo
Developing Ethereum Dapps with Truffle and MetaMask by Dan Finlay
How to create decentralized apps with Clojurescript re-frame and Ethereum by Matúš Lešťan

Official Links

Ethereum Project Home
Ethereum Wiki
Ethereum Blog
Ethereum White Paper
Ethereum Yellow Paper
Ethereum Homestead Documentation
Solidity Documentation
There are MANY more than this but these are some resources to get you started on mobile. Hope this helps so let's pitch in and get this list going!
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Ethereum's advantages for Bitcoin highlight how Ethereum has won the smart contract market for years to come - at a minimum

If you're new to Ethereum, but in love with Bitcoin, you may be thinking, "well, Ethereum is winning now, but Rootstock is still a contender". This topic come up frequently and has been addressed community members quite well. Because posts get censored elsewhere, and deleted over time, I thought I'd reiterate the points here.
tl;dr Using Ethereum to create bonded side chains has advantage to Bitcoin holders that cannot be obtained by non-currency agnostic chains (such as the proposed chain called Rootstock). Ethereum is better for Bitcoin, and with PoS, is more secure.
Rootstock is currently a proposal to be the path to creating smart contracts with Bitcoin. There is this idea out there called “bitcoin maximalization” in which a some cryptocurrency enthusiasts will only accept Bitcoin as THE blockchain of the future. Well, the challenge with that idea is that, while Bitcoin was the first successful blockchain, it is also slow, expensive, and the least-developed. Bitcoin maximalists believe that will change. They believe that bitcoin will adapt. They think Bitcoin will incorporate more technological innovation and maintain global dominance. Sadly, this belief still holds true for many, despite the clear conflicts between mining, development, and exchanges that have driven the long drawn out block size debate. Bitcoin ability to adapt and incorporate new technology is clearly questionable.
One technological revolution brought on by Ethereum has been the smart contract (programmable automated contracts). Ethereum has had a year long monopoly on this innovation, and the monopoly appear to be maintain for the foreseeable future. Bitcoin maximalists do not like that idea. They feel it is a threat to Bitcoin dominance.
While bitcoin and Ethereum COULD make lovely music together, the idea that Bitcoin could lose its dominant position (by market cap) is likely true. Ethereum has many more use cases. This doesn’t mean Bitcoin will go extinct. As a streamlined, non-bloated, currency, it may still be very useful, but I digress.
What if Bitcoin could simply gain Ethereum’s technological sophistication? Rootstock desires to do just that, well, sort of, and for a piece of the pie. For that reason, it’s often promoted by /Bitcoin (a highly censored bitcoin community similar /btc).
So how will Rootstock plan to achieve this?
First, understand Rootstock is currently vapor. An idea and an implementation can be worlds apart. At the time of this post, there is not a single line of code on Github, while Ethereum has just matured to "Homestead" and is running perfectly. While some describe Rootstock as “open source”, currently, nothing is open. Ethereum development took years to get where it is today, and the open aspect of the development led to Etherum’s current remarkable sophistication and stable platform.
But let’s assume, fairly, that Rootstock does eventually emerge from vapor. Rootstock developers are borrowing some of Ethereum’s technology. Thus, in some sense, some of the work is provided for them thanks to Ethereum. Of course, it is easy to overstate. You can’t just cut and paste Ethereum and have it work. It requires a massive amount of development.
So what will Rootstock look like.
Currently, they have two major version planned:
vovobov (throwaway account) had this nice contribution:
Ethereum as a bonded sidechain of Bitcoin with advantages over Rootstock
What is a sidechain?
According to block stream:
A sidechain is a blockchain that validates data from other blockchains
Ethereum already does that with BTC Relay. So how about pegged assets?
This is an idea for an Ethereum contract that makes Bitcoin-backed tokens without any softfork or trusted Bitcoin multisig managers. Instead, Bitcoin IOU's are created on the Ethereum blockchain and backed by Ether bonds which are governed by Ethereum contracts like BTC Relay or price oracles. The Bitcoin IOUs are backed by Bitcoins held by the escrow managers but if they steal/lose the Bitcoins (or refuse to redeem them) the Bonded Escrow Contract will observe their naughty behaviour and sell their Ether bond to redeem the Bitcoins from someone else!
Rootstock vs Bonded Escrow Contract on Ethereum
There are two methods that Rootstock developers plan to use for issuing Bitcoin IOUs (called "Roots") on their Bitcoin "sidechain". AFAIU the first involves merged mining and a multisig wallet that entrusts a quorum of Bitcoin miners with the entire basket of Bitcoin eggs that were "moved" to the Rootstock chain. The second method requires softforking the Bitcoin blockchain for a two-way peg.
Pseudonymous, distributed, untrusted issuers
Rootstock dev maaku7:
“It's a known trade-off made by any presently deployable implementation of the 2-way peg. It's also something that we were very upfront about in the sidechains paper, and part of the reason why many of us are so concerned about decentralization of bitcoin mining.
In any non-SNARK, non-extension-block version of the 2-way peg a bitcoin node does not perform full validation of the sidechain as part of the consensus rules. Therefore it is perfectly possible (by design) for a threshold majority of the miners / signers to steal the coins in the peg pool, and censor any attempt to stop them. Why by design? Because that's the promise of sidechains: performant permissionless innovation at the cost of SPV trust in the honest majority of signers / miners.
Sidechains we are working on (e.g. Alpha, Liquid) and Rootstock, by the looks of it, make use of a fixed set of signers instead of or in addition to reliance on >50% honest hashpower. This is because while less pure, it is ultimately safer to work with known, contracted entities as functionaries rather than 50% hashpower which at the moment is just a small handful of unaccountable people.
EDIT: Although obviously the ideal end goal is fully decentralized mining, where creating a 50% hashpower cabal requires organizing thousands of people at minimum. In such a case we may be able to consider a pure SPV peg to have a reasonable security model. But we're a long way from there yet...”
says this about sidechain security:
“In any non-SNARK, non-extension-block version of the 2-way peg a bitcoin node does not perform full validation of the sidechain as part of the consensus rules. Therefore it is perfectly possible (by design) for a threshold majority of the miners / signers to steal the coins in the peg pool, and censor any attempt to stop them. Why by design? Because that's the promise of sidechains: performant permissionless innovation at the cost of SPV trust in the honest majority of signers / miners.”
Ether bonds can remove most of the need for this trust and allow pseudonymous, permissionless participation in issuance and escrow management. Without anonymous, untrusted validators, distributed around the world, Bitcoin is looking more and more like Chinese Liberty Reserve or E-gold. …
Bonded sidechains decentralize pegged assets
Even with a Bitcoin softfork, Rootstock has just one Bitcoin IOU with all the Bitcoins sitting like a duck in one "wallet". Since Roots are just one Bitcoin IOU from one issuer, they can't be used to back/bond IOUs the way Ether can. If Rootstock's multisig/SPV wallet is robbed by it's signers/miners or (as they always say) hackers, the value of Roots become "zero" along with any asset or contract using Roots. Ether continues to have value if Bitcoins are stolen. Theft just thins out the herd and makes people more cautious. Ether bonds make issuers mostly responsible for their IOUs with IOU holders assuming some risk if Ether loses too much value to Bitcoin.
Issuing servers and indie issuers
A basic Bonded Escrow Contract is practically complete since BTC Relay does the difficult part. "Bonded Escrow Contract" is completely decentralized and requires no modification to Bitcoin. It would allow anyone to "anonymously" manage Bitcoin escrow wallets or issue Bitcoin IOUs. They only need to obtain Ether for the bond, send it to the Bonded Escrow Contract along with their Bitcoin escrow address and the terms of the IOU they wish to create. Indie issuers don't have to babysit a "server" (that needs to be online all the time) if they create IOU contracts that won't have harsh penalties if they take some time to redeem the tokens. IOU buyers who want faster redemption can buy IOU's from issuing servers. Issuers are free to choose alternatives to SPV such as prediction markets, to verify Bitcoin transactions.
Bonded Escrow Contract options
Here are some options that the Bonded Escrow Contract could make available: * Designate how much Bitcoin the IOU tokens are to be worth and how much Ether will back them. This may be a fixed rate or it may be based on other Ethereum price oracle contracts. If a price oracle is used the issuer may have to add Ether to prevent the IOU from going into default if the Ether price goes down relative to Bitcoin. * Set exchange or rental rates for the Bitcoin IOUs. These rates may be in Ether and/or Bitcoin and could be based on oracle/derivatives contracts.
When IOUs aren't redeemed (right away)
What happens if the IOU's are sent back to the issuer but the Bitcoins aren't released right away?
In more recent news:
Rootstock devs (RSK) clarified that instead of creating a token, like Ether, which is sold to the public to fund initial development. With Rootstock, “every time a person or a corporation runs a smart contract on RSK, 80% of the fuel paid goes to the miners and the remaining 20% to RSK Labs, so we can continue the development of the open source platform”.
In other words, Rootstock is a sidechain business venture centrally controlled by RSK. Unlike Ethereum, it is NOT a public resource. This does not foster independent, open source, development, such as what we are seeing with ventures like Ethcore and Consensys and well, the many many other Ethereum developers well deserving of attention. If you’re planning to build on Rootstock, RSK labs get a cut of your expenses. Enjoy having a new boss. That doesn’t exist with Ethereum!!! The Ethereum Foundation started the enterprise, but Ethereum development is already much bigger than a single foundation.
sjalq also makes these fair comments:
Add to this is that Ethereum's PoS will be far more scalable, with Casper development reaching high levels of sophistication.
Basically, unless you absolutely refuse to hold anything but Bitcoin, there is no reason to ever use what's proposed for Rootstock. It's less capable, less secure, less scalable, more centralized, and will be two years behind Ethereum's remarkable network effect (at a minimum). Ethereum's monopoly is going no where for the foreseeable future.
Update: March 18th 2016
What About Counterparty?
  • In most repects, Counterparty's model has the exact same issues as Rootstock's outlined above, so it's the same problems as that described above. Unlike Rootstock, there will be an altcoin, but instead of currency agnostics, it's connected only to bitcoin.
  • Counterparty is also greatly limited by bitcoin's slow blocktime.
  • Detail discussion here.. Basically, Counterparty's model is a model that the Ethereum founders abandoned because it is a technologically poor decision.
  • More perspective from Ethereum dev Alex van de Sande.
    • "many ex-xcp developers who are migrating to Ethereum due to ease of development and better tools. [such as Bitnation] ... Also I don't understand the advantage of counterparty 'using Bitcoin': they also have their own token and their own Blockchain, what is gained by having a ten minute block time?"
    • "The 'there's only one Blockchain' crowd is what we call 'Bitcoin maximalism'. I think this is more a political position than a pragmatic one: Ethereum Blockchain is secure and created from the ground up for contracts. Counterparty is hack trying to put them into a Blockchain that wasn't made for it and doesn't seem to want contracts. I do wish them the best, I just never saw their software stack."
    • "... they claimed they had cloned us and then the next day Vitalik answered that he had implemented counterparty in X lines of codes in ethereum."
  • VB response to "What Ethereum can do that Counterparty cannot"
    1. <15s block time
    2. Light client support
    3. Lack of exposure to Bitcoin development politics (personally, I think this point alone is enough to outweigh whatever 8x difference in dollars wasted per hour on PoW the maximalists like to wave around, and was the original reason for not making ethereum itself a bitcoin-based metacoin)
    4. Lack of exposure to the possibility of Paul Sztorc convincing bitcoin miners that XCP decreases the value of BTC and so should be censored by miners.
    5. Lack of artificially low block size limit
    6. Has a coherent long-term scalability roadmap
    7. Just to throw a bitcoin maximalist argument right back at them, ETH has way better liquidity than XCP so there's less overhead in acquiring the token to pay fees (alongside other network effects like developer tools, user community, etc)
    8. We have DELEGATECALL implemented, they as I understand don't
  • VB does give Counterparty one benefit
    "That said, counterparty is more closely linked to the bitcoin blockchain, so it's easier to make crowdsales that accept bitcoin directly; that's the primary point in favor of a bitcoin blockchain-based metacoin. Though now btcrelay makes up for quite a bit of that difference."
What About Lisk?
It's basically trying to be Ethereum, but using javascript (rather than Ethereum's clients which make a hell of a lot more sense, such as Go, C++, Python, Rust, Java, Ruby, .net). A Javascript Ethereum is a terrible idea, and even if it wasn't, why devote a whole new blockchain to it. Seems pointless, leading to some to suggest this may be an elaborate scam. I doubt it's a scam, but it does seem poorly thought out.
Ethereum's Solidity is VERY close to Javascript, but MUCH better for smart contracts.
As noted by Itsaconspiracy and Nevermindthequestion :
  • The javascript is sandboxed but unrestricted. They have half a dozen rules you're supposed to follow in contracts, to avoid breaking consensus. Nothing's stopping you from putting a call to math.random() in your contract and then nobody gets the same results. Every contract runs in its own sidechain so at least you're not breaking global consensus, but contracts can call each other so it's not totally isolates easier for bugs to sneak in. For example, if someone passes the string "1" into a parameter where you're expectd either.
  • Javascript numbers are all floating-point, so you can get rounding errors in your contracts. (It's possible that they provide a bignum library, but I don't think so, their rules for contract writers don't say "please use our bignum library.")
  • Javascript has weak dynamic typing, so it'ing a number, and you haven't written explicit code to convert it to a number, then you can end up with the wrong answer. ("1" + 2) / 3 = 4 in Javascript. (Try it yourself online).
  • Not to mention that the LISK contracts will be stored in plaintext, which means they'll be vastly more expensive to publish.
OK, so Bitcoin focused smart contracts and LISK are bad ideas, but sometimes bad ideas win, after all, bla bla "network effect"
Ethereum already has its own network effect within the smart contract space. Bitcoin is far behind. There really is no mechanism to catch up. At this time, there appears to be just as much fresh money going into Ethereum development as Bitcoin, if not more (200+ project and counting) and over a billion dollars in investments estimated this year by Vinay Gupta. Bitcoin is certainly used as a currency in more places, but its use as a currency is still pretty much a joke. An Ethereum credit card would make this "currency network effect" absolutely pointless. What people don't seem to get it that Bitcoin's market cap is larger as an artifact of it being around longer, but soon, that will change. The amount of new investment in Ethereum, the number of devs deeply involved in Ethereum projects, has already made Bitcoin's history irrelevant. It seems very obvious to me. In my opinion, it really is over already. Ethereum has already won its place as the primary public blockchain. It's just a matter of time before people realize it. And some very clever investors, already have.
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Don Tapscott joins Sweetbridge as an advisor!

Sweetbridge Adds Blockchain Expert Don Tapscott to Advisory Group Industry luminary will counsel Sweetbridge on protocol development and go-to-market approach
Phoenix, Arizona — February 6, 2018 — Sweetbridge, the global blockchain alliance that is developing protocols to enable frictionless business ecosystems and low-interest financing for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations, has today announced that it has added blockchain expert and best-selling author Don Tapscott to its Advisory Group. Tapscott will advise the Sweetbridge team on strategically applying blockchain and cryptocurrency technology for enterprise ecosystems and government use.
Don Tapscott said: “Blockchain has the potential to transform the way organizations build their supply chains, and I believe Sweetbridge is on the cutting edge of that transformation. I look forward to collaborating with their team as they improve the way businesses around the world interact.”
Don Tapscott is one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society. He currently serves as CEO of the Tapscott Group, a think tank that regularly advises business and government leaders around the world. Tapscott has authored more than 15 books, including Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, an international bestseller that has been translated in over 25 different languages and more recently, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World, which was named one of CNBC’s must-read book about bitcoin. In 2017, Tapscott co-founded the Blockchain Research Institute, whose 70 projects are the definitive investigation into blockchain strategy, use cases, implementation challenges, and organization transformations.
Sweetbridge CEO Scott Nelson said: “As a well-respected thought leader and expert in the blockchain space, Don’s deep industry knowledge will be a critical asset as we continue to further our mission to leverage blockchain to create truly decentralized, frictionless business ecosystems.”
Tapscott has been ranked as the second most influential management thinker in the world according to Thinkers50, the world’s most reliable resource for identifying, ranking, and sharing management ideas. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Rotman School of Management and Chancellor of Trent University in Ontario. In July 2015, Don was inducted into the Order of Canada, the second-highest honor for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, for his leadership in business innovation, as well as research conducted on the economic and social impact of information technology.
Tapscott joins fellow Sweetbridge Advisors Alexander Bulkin, Co-Founder of CoinFund.io; Harry Goodnight, Principal for Revenue Enablement at Mereo LLC; Vinay Gupta, CEO of Mattereum and manager of the initial Ethereum launch; Warren Weber, Senior Research Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Visiting Professor at the University of South Carolina. leave out anything about the Bank of Canada; and Caroline Lynch, Founder and Owner of Copper Hill Strategies and former Capitol Hill staffer overseeing the development of privacy, technology, cybersecurity, and national security policy.
Sweetbridge recently launched its token crowdsale platform, which focuses on ensuring regulatory compliance among blockchain startups and creating an incentive structure for companies that conduct their crowdsales on the platform. Blockchain-based companies Binkabi, Dcntral, and BuilderChain are the first companies that will use Sweetbridge’s platform to launch their crowdsales.
Sweetbridge Advisor Don Tapscott is available for interview.
About Sweetbridge Sweetbridge is a new economy built for commerce that enhances the world’s current economies. Sweetbridge and its alliance partners offer a unique set of blockchain protocols, applications and crypto-economics to create an economy of opportunity for all participants. This new economy offers capabilities that do not exist in conventional economies. For instance, members can lend themselves money at the interest rate and terms they choose, without a credit check. Businesses can obtain seed funding or re-invest in innovation and growth without selling equity or securities of any kind. Global brands in every industry can increase the utilization of assets throughout their value chains, preserving working capital while factoring the payment of suppliers at the time of invoice or order, interest free. Economies of local and national governments can experience a corresponding lift in commerce, while using the new economy to fund projects without selling bonds or debt.
The goal of Sweetbridge is to transform brittle, industrial-era commerce through decentralized industry ecosystems that create a faster, fairer value exchange, unleash working capital, better utilize resources, and optimize talent for the benefit of all participants. For more information, follow Sweetbridge on Twitter at @sweetbridgeinc, its Telegram at t.me/sweetbridge, or visit https://sweetbridge.com.
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Book excerpt: Imogen Heap: “Tiny Human”. Total sales: $133.20.

I’ve told this story before, but somehow the sales figure “$133.20” has yet to be burnt into the history of Blockchain from now unto the end of time. Webpage version, with working links for all the references.
Others had already been thinking along blockchain lines. Imogen Heap has been recording through major labels for a couple of decades now, and, in the course of a string of chart albums and Grammy nominations, has experienced quite her share of the music industry’s duplicitous incompetence, and wants something better.
In late 2015, Heap introduced Mycelia, running on the Ethereum blockchain. Her motivation was to cut through the tangle of bad deals and obscure rights the record industry offered. She found herself free of previous deals, and so released her new song “Tiny Human” as the test case. “Its success will come from the adoption of millions of music lovers.” (1) Mycelia worked with Ujo Music, an attempt to automate the back-room disbursement side put together by Ethereum development company ConsenSys, whose Vinay Gupta had first told Heap about smart contracts.
Heap’s explicit goal is to have all music you’ve “bought” (not just hers) behave as spyware: (2)
We know less about what our songs get up to once they’ve left ‘home’. What would I like to read on these postcards from our songs? Well, how many times it was played, by who and where would be a great start.
The last Imogen Heap release with spyware was the 2005 Speak For Yourself CD with Sony’s rootkit malware, an initiative that didn’t go down so well then either.
The press coverage of Heap’s new initiative was vast, and her name is still routinely brought up whenever blockchaining the music industry is mentioned. What I’ve yet to see anyone mention is how well it did in practice. Total sales of “Tiny Human” through Ujo Music on the Ethereum blockchain were … $133.20. Not $133,200 – but one hundred and thirty-three dollars and twenty cents. (3) It literally got more press pieces than sales. It was taken off sale some time in 2016. (4)
It didn’t help that purchasing it was almost impossible for an ordinary human music fan. You went to the page, clicked “Download”, followed the instructions to create an Ethereum wallet, and went off to a Bitcoin exchange to buy bitcoins then exchange those for ether, as ETH wasn’t widely traded directly to dollars at the time. Getting hold of the Bitcoins required you either to send a pile of government identification to an unregulated exchange, deal with crooks or both. Once you’d done all this, you got a download key. The process was also ridiculously glitchy and buggy. “The exact ether amount is a bit of a gamble.” (5)
Ujo Music later posted a rambling nonexcuse for the “Tiny Human” disaster, in which they admitted that they’d only researched what the hell they were doing after they’d done it. As they put it: “we are but a few bright-eyed technologists with a special hammer, looking for the right nail.” (6)
You’d think that at that point Heap would be wishing she’d just put it up on Bandcamp, but she’s still pursuing the blockchain dream and selling others on it, particularly the Featured Artists Coalition, i.e., the stars who did quite well out of the old major label system and would like to keep something that works like that. Never give up!
A record shop needs not to be harder to use than a BitTorrent client. iTunes, Netflix and Spotify made it big by being more convenient than piracy, and there is nothing convenient about dealing with blockchains. For buying music online, Bandcamp has all comers beat for a convenient record shop experience that delights both buyers and sellers, pays 85% to the artist and doesn’t have any use for a blockchain.
1 George Howard. “Imogen Heap’s Mycelia: An Artists’ Approach for a Fair Trade Music Business, Inspired by Blockchain”. Forbes (contributor blog), 17 July 2015.
2 Imogen Heap. “What Blockchain Can Do for the Music Industry”. Demos Quarterly #8, Spring 2016.
3 Screenshot of payouts as of August 2016, uploaded by me 6 November 2016.
4 Screenshot of the Ujo Music purchase page for “Tiny Human” when I clicked “Download” in August 2016.
5 andrewkeys. “Purchase Imogen Heap’s “Tiny Human” with Ether on ConsenSys project, Ujo, the decentralized peer-to-peer music platform!” Reddit /ethereum, 3 October 2015.
6 “Emerging from the Silence”. Ujo Music blog, 29 August 2016.
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How Blockchain can change our world by Vinay Gupta

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